Pleasantly Suprised by Property Brothers RootsTech Keynote

When an audience member is unfamiliar with a keynote speaker and cannot the connection between a conference topic and said speaker’s background, a giant hurdle blocks the communication process. The question was, could Jonathan and Drew Scott, HGTVs “Property Brothers” establish the connection between real estate and genealogy?

The keynotes from RootsTech 2016 did not grab me in the way the 2015 Keynotes from Donny Osmond and Tan Le did. I’ll admit, the only 2017 speaker that excited me was LaVar Burton because I remember him on Star Trek and Reading Rainbow. Knowing he was also in the groundbreaking television mini-series “Roots,” emphasized the natural connection between this celebrity and the topic of genealogy.

Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting much from the Scott Brothers. My family watches minuscule amounts of TV, Scott Brothers rate with the names any Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. They’re out there. They do a service. Some people know who they are and want to meet them. But for me, Nah! I’m not interested.

After taking one look at the twins who help “couples find fixer-uppers and transform them into dream homes,” and I knew Donny Osmond was back on the keynote schedule! Okay, not literally. Donny Osmond was eye-candy for so many of the participants of 2015. 2016 seemed to lack that visual sweetness. Jonathan and Drew brought it back. ¬†Women attendees need their eye candy. (Men need theirs too, and I have some recommendations in a future post).

Property Brothers Bag Pipe Challenge
Drew Scott Rocks the Bag Pipes (Despite his brother’s ear covering)

Jonathan and Drew Scott were a pleasant surprise. They shared stories from their childhood in Canada and their visits to Scotland. The boys shared video and photos of their bagpipe skills and kilt fashions. They knew of their tartan colors and clan names. They shared how their parents met and bantered about each other’s strengths and weakness. Anyone could do something similar. Right?

Jonathan claims the brothers are the nerdiest guys around, but my boys would love to see
their Medieval sword and armor collection.

Well, no. These two were fast-paced but on point. The Scotts didn’t inspire any particular action, but they did make me laugh. They were entertaining and good-looking. That was their underlying job, though many would say otherwise. They almost make me want to watch their HGTV show based on their interaction during their keynote.

The takeaway was that children become involved in loving their heritage as their parents make it a part of their lives.

“Kids want to know their family history,” said Jonathan Scott, the older but shorter of the twins. “You can’t appreciate where you are going until you know where you are from.”

The Scott Brothers emphasized that sentiment during their keynote. They shared how their parents took them on vacation to see family and their homeland. Their parents incorporated traditional clothing and heritage lessons into their daily lives. They lived their family history while writing their own.

Their keynote address stimulated thoughts of my own. What if my ‘heritage’ is just American? What then? I mean, my family is primarily from Ohio, my husband’s family is from California, Utah, and New York. These states don’t have traditional clothing or food in the way kilts and haggis are from Scotland. Will my children lack an experience similar to the Property Brothers?

I love a keynote that makes me think. Soon, I had my own answer. My kids love stories. They love how Andy and I met and were engaged 17 days later. They want to know how his parents met, as well as mine. Our kids know about how their Nana who believed her father owned a Jeep that belonged to a famous pioneer who crossed the plains in the 1840s. They can know of their great-great-grandfather who was a professor of physics and who carried coins in his pockets for children, even if they weren’t related.

Moreover, they can make and preserve their memories. They can preserve their creations with Legos, their favorite memories of the states we’ve lived in, and take a pilgrimage to the sanctuary in Aggieland, Texas (where Texas A&M University is).

As a Mom, I can only hope my kids will grow to be as playful as these too.
(We’ll have to see who is the ‘hair’ of our family!)

So although I didn’t feel a hard, “Now What?” at the end of Jonathan and Drew’s presentation, I was thoroughly entertained. I love the inspiration that followed their address. The mother in me also saw the potential for the playful nature the boys shared onstage in my children who usually fuss, fight, and nitpick in our home. I just hope I don’t have to wait until their 38 (the age of the Drew Brothers)!

(All photos are captured from the RootsTech livestream. If you want to watch or re-watch the keynote, visit

What do you think? What did you take away from Jonathan and Drew’s keynote?

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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